Een lemma over Spinozisme van Wolfgang Bartuschat

De voorbije dagen ben ik bezig geweest met speuren naar meer informatie over Bartuschat [n.a.v. dit en dit blog). Daarbij kwam ik het volgende tegen.

Wolfgang Bartuschat schreef het lemma “Spinozism” voor The encyclopedia of Christianity. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing/ Brill, 2008 (Vertaling van oorspr. Evangelisches Kirchenlexikon, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen, 1986, 3e Auflage (Neufassung), 1997. [cf]

Ik vind het knap hoe het lukt om in zo’n kort bestek een behoorlijke impressie van Spinoza en het Spinozisme te geven. Om de indruk inzake Bartuschat aan te vullen citeer ik in dit blog dat lemma. De verwijzingstekens naar andere lemmata heb  ik weggelaten; alleen staan hier en daar tussen haakjes zulke andere lemmata vermeld.


I. Term
2. Key Features
3. Development

I. Term
Spinozism is a special type of  metaphysics deriving from Baruch de Spinoza (1632-77). Spinoza, a Dutch philosopher of Jewish background who had grown up in the spirit of Cartesianism developed this type of metaphysics, in his main work, Ethica (1677). A previous work, the Tractatus theologico-politicus ( I670), which Spinoza published anonymously, ultimately brought about a broader reception of his philosophy.

2. Key Features
The characteristic feature of Spinoza’s metaphysics is monism of substance that carries with it a denial of transcendence (Transcendental Philosophy). This theory offers a rational explanation of the world and an ethics that relies exclusively on theoretical insights into the necessary structures of the world. In the one substance of God all the elements of the personal and creative (understanding and will) are obliterated. The essence of God is nothing but productive power, which achieves fulfillment in the things produced, the modi (immanent causality). This view of the nature of God leads to a strict determination of the world. Consequently, there is as little room in the world for the possible or for chance as there is for freedom of the will, belief in which expresses only a defective knowledge (Epistemology). What we can do does not show the ability of a subject with its own powers and standing apart from the nature that encompasses it.
    Mind and body are of the same origin but are not related causally. They find their unity in the nature of God, which consists of essentially different productive attributes. Mental and bodily events run parallel to one another. By reflection on ideas of the corporal, we can find the true origin of our ideas in the divine attribute of thought. We see here that which is eternal (sub specia aeternitatis; Time and Eternity), and in this knowledge we know ourselves to be eternal. This form of knowledge is our blessedness, and it gives us a possible freedom in which our adequate knowledge corresponds with our own nature. Knowledge is an act of the individual (Individualism; Self), and its essential feature is a striving for self-preservation, from which Spinoza derives a theory of the emotions and a rational orientation to the world (Worldview). Knowledge has the power of action only if we are emotionally involved by it. It reaches its purest form in intellectual love for God, in which we love the God who is the cause of all things, the God to whom we owe all that we can do or think, and whom we can thank only by adequately recognizing him.
    People who do not achieve this recognition are referred for their own happiness to forms of organization that are congruent with reason but that do not rely on the individual practice of reason. This is where politics and religion find their place. Religion is a doctrine of the good life that is adapted to the power of those addressed but that has no claim to truth. It is no rival to philosophy, for it differs from it only by its form of presentation.

3. Development
In its development Spinozism did not follow all the teachings of Spinoza but only specific aspects. The first phase had to do with the polemics against the Tractatus and the doctrine of God in the Ethica. One of the figures in J.G.Herder's (1744-1803) essay "God" sums up these polemics: Spinoza was an atheist and a pantheist (Atheism; Pantheism) who taught blind necessity and was a foe of revelation, a scoffer at religion, a devourer of states (State) and all civil society  - in short, an enemy of the human race. Only marginally were the elements of Spinozism adopted (by A.J. Cuffeler in Holland: F. W. Stosch. T.L. Lau. and J.G. Wachter in Germany; and H. deBoulainviller in France].
    G. W. Leibniz (1646-1716), with a theory of possible words and with the distinction between the logical and the factual, tried to overcome Spinozism by a different concept of God. The criticism of P. Bayle (1647-1706) was effective: he described Spinozism as a monstrous and meaningless system. G.E. Lessing’s (1729-81) confession of Spinozism as published by F.H. Jacobi (1743-1819) opened up a new phase in Germany. M. Mendelssohn (1729-86), based upon Wolffian rationalism, defended a purified Spinozism that would allow for religion and morality. Jacobi, however, derived atheism on the rationalistic premises of Spinozism itself. Whereas prior to this debate it had aroused little interest. Spinozism now was considered a type of metaphysics of the first order. Herder went on to work out the dynamic element in the power of God in a way that gave him a theory of self-organizing life.
    J. W. Goethe (1749-1832) found an affinity to his own worldview in a pantheistic Spinozism that allows specific being for each individual. F.D.E. Schleiermacher (1768-1834; Schleiermachers’s Theology) found a theistic element in the intellectual love of God (Theism). In the philosophy of German idealism Spinozism could offer help in giving a deeper foundation and eminent meaning to the subjective philosophy of I. Kant (1724-1804; Kantianism). It offered a valid model for a theory of the absolute. J.G. Fichte (1762-1814) believed it would best enlighten his own system. F.W.J. Schelling (1775-1854) regarded himself as a Spinozist in his youth, and even in old age he believed that no one could advance what was true and complete in philosophy who had not plunged into the depths of Spinozism. G.W.F. Hegel (1770-1631; Hegelianism) thought the standpoint of Spinozism was the essential beginning of philosophy because the soul needed to bathe in the "ethter” of a substance in which everything that one had held to be true was destroyed.
    With decreasing interest in speculative philosophy in the later 19th century, Spinozism became a mere subject in the history of philosophy. M. Hess (1812-75), who took up its political theory, and L. Feuerbach (1804-72 ), who viewed the system materialistically and thus opened up the door to Marxism, were the only exceptions.
    In the 20th century the study of Judaism revived interest in the philosophy of Spinoza, and since the 1960s French structuralism has given it relevance in criticism of the concept of the subject. It has also found reception among theories of science and systems, within a philosophy of the mind, and in connection with an understanding of nature that is no longer seen from an anthropological angle.

Bibliography: W. Bartuschat, Spinozas Theorie des Menschen (Hamburg, 1992) • E. Curley, Spinoza's Metaphysics (Cambridge, Mass., 1969) • A. R. Damasio, Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain (Orlando, FLa, 2003) • G. Deleuze, Expression in Philosophy (New York, 1992; orig. pub.. 1968) • S. Hampsire, Spinoza and Spinozism (0xford, 2005) • E.E. Harris, Salvation from Despair: A Reappraisal of Spinoza’s Philosophy (The Hague, 1973) • J.I. Israel, Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity, 1650-1750 (Oxford, 2001) • R. Mason, The God of Spinoza (Cambridge, 1997) • A. Matheron, Individu et communauté chez Spinoza (2d ed.; Paris, 1988). P-F. Moreau, Spinoza. L’expérience et l’éternité (Paris, 1994) • S. Nadler, Spinoza: A Life (Cambridge, 1999) • R.H. Popkin, Spinoza (Oxford. 2004) • D.B. Steinberg. On Spinoza (Belmont, Calif., 2000) • L. Strauss, Spinoza’s Critique of Religion (Chicago, 1997; Orig. pub., 1930) • J. Wetlesen, The Sage and the Way: Spinoza’s ethics of Freedom (Assen, 1979) • Y. Yovel, Spinoza and Other Heretics (2 vols.; Princeton, 1989) • S. Zac. Spinoza et l’interpreation de l’Écriture (Paris, 1965).                                                                  Wolfgang Bartuschat



Geachte heer Verdult,
Wat een inspirerende Blog voert u. Spinoza inspireert mijn manier van leven steeds meer sinds ik hem vijf jaar geleden ben gaan bestuderen.Tot nu toe heb ik maar één niet afstandelijke en inspirerende leraar gevonden namelijk Robert Misrahi. U heeft recentelijk een stukje van hem vertaald. In een eerdere email heb ik al de hoofdstukken Introduction, traduction et commentaires genoemd die opgenomen zijn in zijn recente vertaling de Ethique van 2005.( éditions de l'eclat). Op dit ogenblik ben ik van Robert Misrahi een boek(je) aan het lezen genaamd Spinoza, une philosophie de la joie. (ca 143 pagina's tekst en 112 pagina's franse tekst van Spinoza (door Misrahi vertaald natuurlijk).
Misrahi neemt geen blad voor de mond, door niet stiekem toch iets religieus te introduceren. Naar zijn mening is Spinoza ronduit atheist in de huidige betekenis van dat woord. Maar het meest aantrekkelijke voor mij is toch zijn enthousiasme voor het nog steeds zo bruikbare gedachtengoed van Spinoza.
Want daar gaat het mij om. Het zoeken én vinden van het "duurzame goede" in het leven.
Ik heb inmiddels ook bij Meiner Spinoza's Theorie des Menschen van Wolfgang Bartuschat besteld, daartoe geinspireerd door uw blog.
Met vriendelijke groet
Koos Poldervaart.

PS. Weet u wellicht artikelen geschreven door mensen die ook bezig zijn "Spinoza's weg" te bewandelen ?

Het bericht van de heer Koos Poldervaart heeft mij aangenaam verrast. Ik deel zijn waardering voor Robert Misrahi. Ik las van hem Spinoza, éditions Médicis-Entrelacs, 2005 en Spinoza et le spinozisme, Armand Colin, 2006.
Voor wie de franse taal goed beheerst kan luisteren en kijken naar conferenties van Robert Misrahi over Spinoza op de website van Akadem, klikken op "Les conférences en ligne".
Met vriendelijke groet.